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Tag Archives: Sammy Davis Jr.

One thing everyone would probably agree on is that the Rat Pack definitely had style.  And in the movie Robin & The Seven Hoods, they even sang about it.  In that 1964 film, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are joined by Bing Crosby for a rousing song and dance number on the subject of class, charm and. . .Style.  The song, written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen makes the point that it’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it.  Or, as the lyrics say, “a flower’s not a flower if it’s wilted, and a hat’s not a  hat till its tilted”.  In that regard, Frank Sinatra certainly lived his life with style.

In the movie, the song is performed when Frank and Dean’s characters Robbo and Little John decide to give Bing Crosby’s character Allen A. Dale a  musical lesson on looking good.  First, Bing samples some outrageous outfits to the disapproval of Frank and Dean.  Then, Bing, Frank and Dean are transformed from their 1930’s era Chicago gangster wardrobe into sharp black tuxedos with canes and white straw hats. . .at a tilt, of course.  And it’s all taken in by an appreciating audience consisting of Sammy Davis Jr.’s character Will, and four other cast members. 

Many years later, Style was used as the theme music for a reunion tour featuring Frank, Sammy and Liza Minnelli who was filling in for an ailing Dean Martin.  And today, the song is still performed occasionally when the Rat Pack is re-created by Rat Pack Impersonators in Los Angeles, also seen often in Las Vegas and other cities around America.

Young Sammy

The youngest member of The Rat Pack was born Samuel Victor Moses George Davis Jr., in the Bronx, almost exactly ten years after Frank Sinatra, and eight years after Dean Martin.

Sammy Davis Jr.’s parents were both entertainers who split up when Sammy was three years old.  At that early age, Sammy went out on tour with his dad and his dad’s partner Will Mastin in their dance troupe which, with the addition of Sammy, became known as The Will Mastin Trio.  At the age of eight, Sammy appeared in a movie called Rufus Jones For President.

Sammy served in the U.S. Army during World War II, during which he joined an entertainment unit.  After the war, he rejoined the Will Mastin Trio, but soon moved on to success of his own with solo albums and a starring role on Broadway in a show called Mr. Wonderful.

But more success and excitement was on the way for Sammy starting in 1959, when, at the age of 34 he teamed up with Frank, Dean, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford for a series of movies and one of the most memorable stage shows Las Vegas has ever seen, forever known as The Rat Pack.